You don’t need to do much advertising if your store is located across the street from the famous Wall Drug in South Dakota.  Wall Drug does that for you, promoting their famous “free ice water” and 5¢ coffee to anyone traversing the state’s highways.   But the question is how to get the Wall Drug tourist… Read More

A recent study by the digital division of the National Retail Federation showed that over half the consumers queried occasionally used video to research products.   Of course many of the respondents to the Consumer Use of Online Video for Shopping survey used the information they gained to make their purchases on the web. But good… Read More

A “locavore” may sound like a type of dinosaur, but it is actually a term coined by Jessica Prentice in 2005 for someone who tries to eat only locally grown food. The idea is to build a more locally based, self-reliant society that supports small-scale farmers by emphasizing the produce that has not been trucked… Read More

You may think that the Swiss shop with the chocolate-themed name “Truffle” sells chocolate, and you would be right. But they also sell “lifestyle.”  Do you? And if you do, what kind of lifestyle are you selling? Everyone has a lifestyle, of course, whether you are a college student living on ramen noodles in a… Read More

At the recent New York International Gift Fair, a saleswoman explained to me that one of the products in her line was perfect independents wanting to make some extra markup.  The cost was $7.50, and her locally-owned accounts all sold it for $19.95.  But when I asked whether a major retailer marked another item, at… Read More

In England, he might have been knighted. In Italy, a bronze statue in the piazza might have been thought to be fitting.  But in America, the highest accolade accorded to Seth Godin, “marketing guru,” is his own action figure.  Of course Accoutrements (a great source for truly bizarre products) affords that honor to some highly… Read More

Whether you’re traveling on buying trips, vacation or for family visits this summer, I hope you’ll go shopping.  That, is after all one of the top-ranked activities for travelers of all types — but for retailers, visiting other stores can be a great source of inspiration. That’s one of the main reasons that gift shows… Read More

Do you know what the number one item that has been searched for in Google since it started? Britney Spears!  I’m not sure what that says about our society, but as a retailer, I found it telling that the number two search target today is “coupons.” I recently went to a seminar sponsored by Google… Read More

With rare exceptions, those of us who run specialty shops are not selling the basics needed for survival. Instead we are allowing customers a respite from their harried lives, and hopefully providing a pleasurable shopping experience.  As this flower vendor at the Dane County Farmers’ Market says on her sign, we offer emotional stimulus and… Read More